Brunch Date: Jack’s Wife Freda

Brunch Date: Jack’s Wife Freda

Maithil and I recently had a chance to go on a weekend brunch date. We used to be great about planning dates. Post Rian, dates are more spontaneous and revolve around his schedule. Some parents make it a point to have date night once a week. What is your secret to keeping that weekly commitment?

We dropped Rian off with my parents and made our way to Soho to have a late brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda. The wait was about thirty-five minutes at this bustling hot spot. Both the host at the front door as well as our server were sweet and helpful, but not over-bearing. The menu is filled with simple dishes with an elegant twist that elevate the familiar, comforting ingredients. Communal, family-style seating makes for tight, loud quarters. If you plan on having a personal, intimate conversation, this is probably not the place for it (although, odd as it sounds, it’s so noisy that it’s almost intimate). For us, we didn’t care who overheard – we had one of the best conversations we’d had in a while.

The dishes are portioned for one and given the fact we were starving, it only made sense to order three entrees. Each was flavored just right and left you feeling satisfied.

The Mashed Avocado on Seeded Bread, with cherry tomato jam, pickled carrots, and za’atar, as well as a side of fries, was hearty, creamy, and had just a touch of tang. It's a great spin on the traditional avocado toast sprinkled with crushed red pepper.

The Mashed Avocado on Seeded Bread, with cherry tomato jam, pickled carrots, and za’atar, as well as a side of fries, was hearty, creamy, and had just a touch of tang. It’s a great spin on the traditional avocado toast sprinkled with crushed red pepper.

The Mediterranean Breakfast with 2 eggs any style, chopped salad, labne, avocado and pita bread was uncomplicated and light. The creamy labne added that special touch. Egg and cheese lovers will never miss the traditional cheese in this dish.

The Mediterranean Breakfast with 2 eggs any style, chopped salad, labne, avocado and pita bread was uncomplicated and light. The creamy labne added that special touch. Egg and cheese lovers will never miss the traditional cheese in this dish.

The Rosewater Waffle topped with lebanese yogurt, mixed berries and honey syrup was light, airy, and oh-so fragrant. The killer rosewater-honey syrup combination made me weak in the knees. I love dark, genuine maple syrup but I would trade that in for this stuff any day.

The Rosewater Waffle topped with lebanese yogurt, mixed berries and honey syrup was light, airy, and oh-so fragrant. The killer rosewater-honey syrup combination made me weak in the knees. I love dark, genuine maple syrup but I would trade that for this stuff any day.

We topped off our meal with the Flourless Chipotle Chocolate Cake with chocolate mousse. It's what the sound "mmmm" is made of. No further description needed.

We topped off our meal with the Flourless Chipotle Chocolate Cake with chocolate mousse. It’s what the sound “mmmm” is made of. No further description needed. A must for all lovers of chocolate.

During our meal, Maithil also got half a pint of Hoegaarden – it’s the perfect sized drink for a big meal. Smart offering Freda.

Jack’s Wife Freda lived up to all of it’s praise. We can’t wait to return on another date, this time for dinner. Jack, you are one lucky man to have Freda cooking for you!

Food Tally: Mashed Avocado on Seeded Bread, $11; Mediterranean Breakfast, $13; Rosewater Waffle, $10; Flourless Chipotle Chocolate Cake, $7; Hoegaarden, $4; Total = $45 without tax and tip.

Score: 4.75/5

Address: 224 Lafayette Street, NYC, jackswifefreda.com

jwf

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Mr. Monday: 3 Borrowed Must Haves

Mr. Monday: 3 Borrowed Must Haves

How was your long weekend? Having an extra day off makes such a huge difference! The polar vortex forced us to stay indoors for the majority of the weekend which meant lots of uninterrupted playtime with Rian. One of his new favorite activities is playing hide-and-seek; the element of surprise makes him laugh aloud every time.

I had auto-scheduled this Mr. Monday post but choosing AM instead of PM meant no post. Sincere apologies.

—xxx—

As I stepped out of the shower, it hit me. Some of my favorite bathroom products are “men’s” products. They are specifically marketed towards men but trust me, they are just as great for women. Thank you, Maithil for helping me discover these gems.

Men’s soap: I love Dove soaps, especially in the winter, for their moisturizing qualities. The Dove Men + Care Body and Face Bar, Deep Clean also has purifying grains that gently exfoliate. Also, unlike other Dove soap bars, this one does not easily melt. Ideal for both your body and face (I only use it for my body).

dove

Men’s razor: This is a no brainer. Men’s razors have more blades and they don’t seem to dull as quickly. Gillette Fusion Proglide Men’s Razor is the one I’m currently using and loving. You will never return to a women’s razor again.

gillette

Men’s Deodorant: They do not make just deodorant for women. It’s always antiperspirant deodorant, which basically clog your sweat ducts (and some believe could lead to breast cancer). But would you only need a deodorant? Nothing. Old Spice High Endurance Men’s Deodorant is great and it surprisingly smells good on as well. (Some reading on antiperspirant vs. deodorant here and here.)

old spice

Do you have any products that are borrowed from the men in your life? Do tell.

Top Image: I also love men’s dopp kits. They are very roomy and perfect for stuffing all of my travel toiletries needs. This hidden message one, by Owen & Fred, always makes me smile.

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You & Me: A Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

You & Me: A Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. Like most holidays, I enjoy it for its festive nature but I dislike the pressure associated with it. At its core, it is a dedicated day to celebrate your love for your loved ones (we should be doing this year-round and not just one day a year). Though expensive presents or fancy dinners are nice to have, they should certainly not be the main focus. Rather, the focus should be on spending time together, doing something fun, and just expressing your love and gratitude for each other. Below are a few thoughtful and creative Valentine’s Day options for husbands, wives, kids, parents, friends, and crushes:

  1. Dinner and Fancy Dessert: You and your loved one each pick up a dessert – be sure to keep it secret. You prepare and enjoy a meal together. The dessert serves as a great surprise at the end of the meal!
    Or you can pick up some takeout and make dessert at home, like these Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

    Or you can pick up some takeout and make dessert at home, like these Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

  2. Provide each other with one or more “Favor Coupons” to be cashed in at any time. Favors can include: massages, doing the dishes, slow dancing in the living room after a long day, folding all of the laundry, 15 minutes of uninterrupted making out, etc.
  3. A hand-written note (no typing allowed) stating why you appreciate the other person. Be sure to include some of the small things that probably otherwise go unnoticed.
  4. A customized date: see details, with a fantastic promo, below. 

Last year, I had purchased a palm-reading date through You&Me Concierge, is a membership-based service and e-commerce site that creates, aggregates, and provides one-of-a-kind experiences geared towards couples. Unfortunately, I gave birth prior to my due date and we were never able to go on our date. You&Me Concierge was actually wonderful about refunding the cost of the date due to the un-foreseen circumstances – kudos on amazing customer service! This year, I am really gravitating towards A Chocolate Love Affair. De-li-cious!

As an exclusive to all 17 Parkside readers, You&Me Concierge is offering an additional $40 off members-only pricing on their favorite Valentine’s Day packages to all new and existing members.  When you purchase one of these date packages, your monthly membership will become effective immediately, giving you access to book unique dates as well as members-only free dates.**

you&me

Here are all of the details, courtesy of You&Me Concierge! Enjoy your dates!

1)Use this url to activate the promotion: http://youandmeconcierge.com/datebook?promo=iaennjpuyuzty

2) If you are already a registered paying member of YAMC or non-paying registered user of YAMC then you will simply need to login with you username and password to start browsing the “Datebook”.  If you have never signed up with us before, simply click the “sign up” button in the far right hand corner and create an account before proceeding.

3) Once logged in, all of our dates will appear from our NY datebook.  All dates included in our promotion will have a blue slash across the member price and the discounted price will appear next to it.

4)  To purchase a promotional package, click “book this date” and head to check out.  Registered non-paying/new users will be charged the promo price plus the $18 recurring monthly fee and returning members will only be charged the promotional price.

**As always, your recurring monthly membership can be cancelled at any time by emailing support@youandmeconcierge.  Promotion expires on 2/15/15.

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Mr. Monday: Valentine’s Day

Mr. Monday: Valentine’s Day

My first job out of college was as an assistant in the merchandising department at Coach. I still remember some of the girls belaboring about the perfect outfit for Valentine’s Day. Red or pink had to incorporated into the outfit but neither should be overpowering. Invaluable lesson indeed! Maithil’s pop of red with a dark blue and tan base says festive without being too over-the-top. His ensemble is a balanced palette of hues (and price points).

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Patterned Chambray Shirt: and Belt: Old Navy / Pants: Club Monaco (Davis Slim Fit, similar here and here) / Wool Coat: Cardinal of Canada at Nordstrom / Shoes: Urban Outfitters / Watch: Burberry (similar)

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One Ingredient Peanut Butter

One Ingredient Peanut Butter

As a kid, I was very curious about peanut butter. Why? I grew up in India and in the late 80s/early 90s, there was no brand that even came close to the real thing that you get here. I credit my mother for my fascination. She would always tell me stories about her older sister bringing her jars of smooth, creamy peanut butter every time she visited her in Mumbai from Texas. She said that it was the most delicious treat, best enjoyed on a piece of toast or just by the spoonful. I still remember us picking up my first bottle from a fancy store in Calcutta. It tasted like stale, greasy, coarsely ground peanuts. Never again! I told myself that I would never eat this butter made from peanuts again.

TJs peanuts

After having my first spoonful of “American” peanut butter at the age of 8, a week after we moved across the ocean, I finally realized that my mother was not totally nuts. Rather, I realized exactly what she was raving about. Currently, one of my favorite’s is one that is homemade with just one ingredient and one tool. That’s it, I promise. It’s made with Trader Joe’s honey roasted peanuts. You place a bag full in the food processor and blend them until smooth. The result is an ever-so slightly grainy, sweet-and-salty blend of nutty flavors.

peanuts process

peanuts processed

I stored mine in a mason jar. Please note that, similar to most natural peanut butters, the oils will build up on the top. Be sure to mix thoroughly before enjoying. Warning: This may turn into your new guilty pleasure!

peanut butter

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Mr. Monday: Blue & Green

Mr. Monday: Blue & Green

I am often asked about men’s style, especially by colleagues who are trying to maintain a business-casual-chic sensibility. Many even wonder if I “dress” my husband. The only man in my life that I actively dress is my son, Rian. Maithil has always had a great sense of style but he has grown more accustom to venturing out of his comfort zone after meeting me. I must confess that, at times, I enjoy shopping for him even more than I do for myself. This new Monday series, aptly named, Mr. Monday, explores men’s fashion and style, and will hopefully provide inspiration for your everyday wardrobe (to both male and female readers, alike).

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What started as an easy winter has quickly spiraled into when-will-these-sheets-of-black-ice-finally-melt? Maithil has been logically dressing in layers to keep warm. But, this does pose an ever-present challenge: How can you dress in layers without looking too bulky? His look this Sunday, in support of the Seahawks for Super Bowl XLIX (what a heartbreaking loss!), included a monotone navy color palette with a touch of light army green (the Seahawks blue and green are a lot brighter) and brown tones to ground the look. A cozy sweater with a shawl collar topped with a puffer vest kept him toasty without feeling heavy. His main accessory was his Hermes watch, a wedding present from his sisters. The main trick to dressing in layers seems to be creating a balance of different weights and textures. There is a lot of room to play and you will never really know what something looks like until you try it on.

Maithil green and blue

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Maithil_snow_walkingShawl Collar Sweater: J.Crew (similar here and here) / Puffer Vest: GAP (similar)/ Slim Jeans: Seven For All Mankind / Shoes: Clark’s / Watch: Hermes (similar face, different band) / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

 

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Can Women Have It All?

Can Women Have It All?

Before I had Rian, I was convinced that women/parents could have it all – a career, a family, a healthy social life, and time for themselves. It’s been nine-and-a-half months since Rian arrived and I can tell you that I have some, but I surely do not have it all.

Balancing work and home is a constant struggle. One of my goals for the new year is to get to work on the earlier side, in an effort to have uninterrupted time to get things crossed of my do-to list before everyone gets in the office; my hope is to be able to leave by 5:15pm,at the latest. This gets me home by 6:20pm should the stars align and there be no train delays.

Our weekends are often packed with family commitments, house cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. Maithil and I have been making a conscious effort to complete some chores during the course of week. For example, I’ll put a load of laundry in before dinner and by the time we are done with dinner/dishes, the laundry is ready for folding. But, after a long day at work, it is sometimes tough to motivate myself to do anything that requires much physical activity.

Scheduling time with friends is no longer easy. Seeing friends on weeknights and not getting home before 8:30pm equates to no time with Rian that day. Weekend plans have to be made in advance so that we can plan the day around Rian’s schedule. Friends with kids (we do not have many of those) are a lot easier to make plans with because they are in the same predicament as us. I imagine that our social lives will improve once Rian is a little older.

Time for myself – what does that mean? I would love to start making the gym a regular part of my daily routine again but currently, there is just no time or energy for this. I can talk about this for pages but I think you get the point. Plus, pumping burns enough calories for now!

Overall, at this point in my life, I have to agree with Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi and say that perhaps women can’t have it all. But, I am not willing to settle on the fact that this will always be the case. Each day, my juggling act improves just a tiny bit. That progress is enough to keep me striving for a better balance.

Fellow parents, how is your juggling act? How do you manage your day-to-day?

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73 Questions

Interviews fascinate me. They provide insights into people’s lives, companies, and processes through a uniquely candid lens. 73 Questions, a series by Vogue, has added a layer of unpredictability, intrigue, and pure fun to celebrity interviews. The interviewer rapidly fires 73 questions while the celebrity continues to go about their business in their day-to-day environment. While it’s almost impossible to pick my favorite between Sarah Jessica Parker, Victoria Beckham, Reese Witherspoon, and Blake Lively, there is an edge to Anna Wintour’s interview that is both intimidating and fascinating. Plus, I bet you’ve never seen Anna this up close and personal. Watch. Listen. Enjoy!

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A Baby Library

A Baby Library

Rian has followed a consistent bedtime routine ever since he was about 2 months old. He takes a shower with Maithil (yes, an actual shower and not a bath in a baby tub. Our old neighbor, Maria, suggested the sweet idea and Rian loves every minute of it! Plus, it makes for some wonderful father-son bonding time.), we massage him with lotion or oil, slip him into his pajamas, and get him ready for feeding and reading time. We will read at least one or two books to him while he drinks his final bottle for the day. Recently, when he takes a break to burp, he will grab the book, flip the pages (board books are easier than paperbacks or hardcover), and babbles along. It’s as if he is reading to us (I knew he was a genius!). We now have a little library going, filled with personal picks as well as a bunch of great reads from friends and family. Below are my 10 favorite books from our current collection.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Corduroy

Corduroy

The Story of Ferdinand

The_Story_of_Ferdinand

Guess How Much I Love You

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The Runaway Bunny

The Runaway Bunny

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Mike-Mulligan-and-his-Steam-Shovel

Little Blue Truck

Little Blue Truck

A Birthday For Cow

A Birthday For Cow

 

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A New Year

A New Year

Happy 2015!

At the end of each year, resolutions seem to be the topic of choice of everyone’s minds. Losing weight, learning a new skill, and saving money are some resolutions I hear most often. For me, resolutions are a bit too, well, resolute. Rather, I like to set goals, both short and long-term. The short-term ones are usually action oriented with an optimal result in mind. Long-term goals are on-going, much harder to fully achieve and more life oriented.

Some of my short-term goals include:

- Becoming more efficient at Photoshop

- Waking up when my alarm goes off (I’ve realized that once I make it out of bed, I am actually a morning person)

- Practicing yoga (I was an avid yogi during my pregnancy and it helped a lot with the aches and pains)

- Leaving work on time so I can make all of my trains (so I can come home to be with Rian!)

Some of my long-term goals include:

- Being more patient and rational in stressful situations

- Finding happiness and seeing the beauty in the details

- Not being too hard on myself

- Being more at peace with myself and those around me

What are some of your goals in 2015?

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